With Jean Lapierre’s death, Quebec media loses its chief political analyst

There wasn’t anyone as omnipresent in Quebec news media over the past decade as Jean Lapierre.

The former federal MP, who died with his wife, three siblings and two pilots as their plane crashed on approach to an airport Tuesday in les Îles de la Madeleine, parlayed his political experience into various roles as a political analyst.

While people covering all sorts of beats misuse the term “insider” to describe themselves, Lapierre was about the closest thing Quebec media had to one who had the freedom to speak his mind on political issues. And he had the sense to never claim to be a journalist, even though most of the time he was engaging in journalism.

Lapierre had a busy schedule and many clients. Daily appearances on Montreal’s 98.5 FM, Quebec City’s FM93 and 106.9 FM in Trois-Rivières, columns on several shows on TVA and LCN (Mario Dumont had a segment with him that came to an end with a tribute), a twice daily segment on CJAD (Program Director Chris Bury explains how the station kept adding his segments because of demand) and a weekly appearance on CTV Montreal. Cogeco, Quebecor and Bell Media were all sending him regular paycheques for his insight.

So it’s unsurprising that many of his media colleagues were emotional as they relayed the news of his death, from Denis Lévesque to Paul Larocque to Pierre Bruneau to Paul Arcand to Aaron Rand and Andrew Carter. There are so many tributes from media people and politicians it would be impossible to compile them all. TVA/LCN and CJAD have put together entire dossiers on Lapierre, and there are enough obituaries and written tributes to keep you reading for days.

I didn’t know Lapierre personally, and I’m starting to think I’m one of the few people in Quebec media not to be in his ever-expanding circle of friends. I have no personal anecdotes to share, beyond that one time I stood outside the Quebecor office at the National Assembly press gallery and listened to him do a segment for LCN about a budget announcement.

But I know enough about him to know that there isn’t anyone quite like him. Sure, there are other former politicians giving analysis on TV. (RDI has an entire show devoted to it.) But how many of them will give you a colourful seven-minute description of how a politician should shake hands at a campaign event? How many of them will call out BS when he sees it, even if it’s from a politician he knows as a friend?

Lapierre wasn’t perfect, and we should resist the temptation to sugar-coat his life as we summarize it. But even if he wasn’t the most objective source of information about politics, he built this air of trustworthiness because he wasn’t afraid to tell it as he saw it. Perhaps because of that more than anything else, he had a unique ability to clearly explain the political process, and political thinking, to Quebecers in both languages. One that will be surely missed.

And he was someone who enjoyed what he did, who was very successful at it, and made a lot of friends doing it.

We should all be so lucky.


4 thoughts on “With Jean Lapierre’s death, Quebec media loses its chief political analyst

  1. Frank

    Larocque took it very hard and understandably so; he sa w:Lapierre not only as a colleague and friend buy a brother.

    Now I’d love to find the clip of him interviewing Andrew Carter and Mutsumi Takahashi en français.

  2. Mario D.

    Whether or not we agree with someone s view is never important when that someone is passionate about what he does. Lapierre was that kind of guy. Had his own views but also had his connections with so many politicians in Québec and Ottawa that he was always ahead on the day`s headlines.

    Not one mean comment about him since yesterday. Although he had been in politics you never really knew what side he was on at any moment but he would let you know what he thought was to be expected. An old type of politician who really got involved and went himself to meet the real, small people. He cared. If there is such a thing he was the colour commentator for politics and really brought interest for many that could not care less about it.
    Will not be replace that`s for sure although Chantal Hebert is very good on the federal side of politics.

    What a terrible tragedy this is . My thoughts go out to his mom because no word can be found to soothe the pain she must be in. Anyone going through that tragedy would make headlines today. The fact that Lapierre was a media personality brings it even closer to home…

  3. ClearChannel

    A sad waste of life based on poor judgement, they could have gone a day later on Wednesday in good weather and still be alive. Here today gone tomorrow, life is very fragile. Other than that I always liked and listened to his commentaries and political insight. He was a very good commentator with a lot of political experience and difficult to replace someone like that. I’ll miss his words. A very sad and tragic affair.

  4. Ileana Gehrenbeck

    I will miss him, and I feel political journalism in Quebec will ever be the same without Jean Lapierre. He was fair to all politicians and all parties, he called BS when it was needed no matter where it came from. He also had the ability to explain what was going on in simple words to everybody. It was difficult to know what side he was because his personal political convictions were left out of the picture, and for that I am grateful since we live in a province where most of provincial political reporters and analysts always blatantly take sides, whether in English or French. I had the chance of meeting him once at a party and talk with him for about 10 minutes, he was friendly and approachable, also funny, I thanked him for teaching me so much about Quebec politics. I will miss his analysis on CTV Montreal, CJAD and the Francophone media.

    We still have Chantal Hebert …


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